I had fallen right asleep and slept through the night. Well, until 4:30 (local time) – and then was actually pretty awake. But… I didn’t get up. Eventually I fell back asleep and then was pretty fast asleep when the alarm went off at 7:30. Oof.
We went downstairs for the breakfast buffet at hotel. Croissants and pain au chocolate! And whoa! All the spreads. And a coffee jukebox. That is, a machine with a half dozen or so options, put your cup under the nozzle and press the button.
After that I was ready for a nap but we had to return the rental car and put together our bikes. (Apparently I missed the bike assembly fairy option.) We peeked in the bike room. There were a few more than when we had put our bags in last night, and it seemed like quite a lot of bikes to me, but Eric said that compared to last time it was not very full. In 2015 the start had been just down the street at the velodrome.
At the rental car place there was a worker in the yard but we had to wait for a “responsible person” to get there to check in the car. There were some people there before us, and they took a while, but once it was our turn it went pretty quickly. We walked back to the hotel. Along the way we foraged some blackberries, plums, and apples!
The next order of business was putting the bikes together. All the parts were still there, and nothing was bunged up. It took me a while, but it went well. The only little thing was that I thought I had marked where the handlebars sat angle wise, but it must have rubbed off. Or maybe I was remembering incorrectly. Either way, I got it to what seemed to be the right place.
For a shake down ride we tootled over to Versailles. We being Eric, me, and GregM. Greg had found a labyrinth, which we rode around in after I took some pictures of yellowbike with a neat sculpture. Once we got more underway I had a big WOOHOO I’M RIDING MY BIKE IN FRAAANCE! rush. On the way over there were some nice bike paths, and nice roads, and a few places where I was not so sure if bikes were OK but whatever. We made it to the town OK.
Direction of travel is the same as in the US, so that wasn’t anything that needed adjustment. One thing that was a little different was that the traffic lights are located before the intersection, so if you are at the front of the line of traffic you had to remember to not go too far forward, otherwise you couldn’t tell when the light changed.
Once in town we were feeling a bit peckish, and found a pleasant looking crepe place. Greg and Eric actually had waffles, with sweet toppings, and I had a more savory crepe. It was fun to see/hear Greg speaking French, and the proprietress tried some English. And omigosh the crepe was délicieux!!!
As we cruised over toward the Palace someone yelled at us in English from a sidewalk cafe table. “Hey hippies, get a car!” Turned out to be a woman (rando) from Seattle – she had seen Eric’s Swift and Greg’s Ruthworks bags and figured we were also from the Left Coast. There were introductions, her brother was there with her, and discussions of mutual friends and plans for The Ride.
We rode past some of the Compound. (the Versailles Palace that is) Ridiculous. No wonder they had a revolution. We didn’t go into paying part, but there was still plenty to see on the grounds.
The bike seemed to be working as usual, but there was a mildly annoying fender rattle. I did three different adjustments trying to make it go away, so it was not a very scientific approach, but the rattle stopped. Whew. 1200k of that would have gotten old.
After riding around the more park like part of the grounds, with a stop at some sorta unisex restrooms, we decided to head back to the hotel. Unfortunately our first attempts at exiting toward the direction we wanted to go in were thwarted by locked gates. Cue Escape from Versailles... from there Greg thought to go one way, we decided to try another (I know, I know, don’t split up… but, we did see him again back at the hotel!) and ended up exploring a bit more of the grounds, and seeing some other cyclists there for PBP.
Eventually we did make it back to the hotel, and then went out for dinner. We decided – why not, right? – to go to a French restaurant within walking distance. Or should I say a French food restaurant. On our way there we saw that the carousel was open, so went for a ride on that. Then dinner. Priorities. The gang from last night plus Keith and someone else whose name I didn’t catch ended up there as well.
Eric and I both had skewers – mine was some very tasty salmon, Eric had beef. Dunno that was particularly French, but it was super tasty. Ohand there were frites. I tried the cidre brut, which I enjoyed, although it seemed pretty sweetish. It made me wonder what the douce would have been like. After eating we walked around a bit, which then turned into a search for dessert. We ended up at the Carrefour, which is a store of ALLTHESTUFFS – both food and non-food items. In the grocery part we managed to find some ice cream, which we enjoyed back at our hotel room and then turned in.
August 16, 2019